A Life Worth Living; Chapter Six
There came at time when Mam wanted to leave the violent drunken life style she had with dad and she relocated us in a place called Dodworth, at the other end of town. Mam wanted to live a normal life without the violence and the drinking.
I was excited and felt this move was a new start for me. I planned lots of things I could do to help mother in our new house so that she would start to like me. I planned on cleaning and washing for her so that she would not have to do so much work and she would be pleased with me. I was eight years old and thought life was about pleasing others.
For a few weeks life in our new area and new house was better for me, mam was never home and I was free to do what I wanted. She was gone day and night drinking and partying and often she would be brought home by the police.
I was often left in charge of the younger kids for days at a time. I had to feed them and get them to bed even though I was just a child myself. I used to worry that people would think my family were dirty and scruffy so I tried to keep my siblings and their clothes clean.
When mam was home taking care of my siblings, she did not want me near her. I had to stay out of the house all day. I was free to do my own thing and would take off into the fields that were on the edge of the estate we lived in. From our house was a path that led straight to a farmyard that was surrounded by fields. I spent all my time in those fields hiding, always alone, just keeping out of the way. I always felt lonely but life was safer that way.
Attempts To Kill Me
When I was about eight years old, mam had come home drunk and as usual screaming obscenities aimed at me. I could hear her voice getting louder as she came up the stairs towards the bedroom. ‘Where is the gormless bastard because I am going to kill her’, she was screaming. I laid there, too terrified to move, or to run and hide, not that there was anywhere to hide. She flung my bedroom door open and stood looking at me. ‘Have you been waiting for me?’ she snarled from the bedroom door. Her face looked white and contorted with evil in the dim light coming from the street lamp further up the road. She was snarling as she flew at me and locked her hands around my neck. The force of her knocked us both off the bed and we were rolling about on the floor. I was fighting for my life and my own mam, with hands tightly around my neck, throttling me and trying to kill me. I remember I could not breathe; my tongue was protruding out of my mouth. I remember I tried pleading with my eyes and in my mind I begged her to stop, but she did not stop. I knew I was going to die. The last thing I remember on that occasion was the look on mam’s face and her eyes and the smell of alcohol mingled with her perfume.
I woke up the next morning, in my bed with a painful neck and throat and unable to speak. I probably needed medical help but instead, I was kept in the bedroom for days after, and the incident was never mentioned. I told no one what had happened because I had no one to tell.
On another occasion I heard my mother screaming that she was going to kill me. This time when I heard her coming I got under the bed and laid there, my heart beating flat out and ready for exploding, too terrified to breathe for fear she would find me. She went absolutely mad when she did find me and dragged me out from under the bed. Slapping my head and yanking my hair and cursing at me. She threw me on the bed and punched me in the back a couple of times before I manage to get further up the bed away from her. I curled up at the top of the bed with my knees tight against my body and my arms around my legs trying to protect myself. ‘Come here now’, she snapped at me, with her finger pointing to the bottom of the bed. I had no choice but go towards her. I knew she was going to try and kill me. ‘Here swallow these’, she said, as she passed me some pills. I did not want to take them and I was crying. ‘Take them now!’, she hissed, so I put one in my mouth. She gave me a drink to wash them down with. I tried to get clever and hold them in my mouth so that I could spit them out after but she checked the inside of my mouth and made me swallow them. Once I had swallowed them all she forced me and my brother and sister into her bed where she could keep a watchful eye on us. I laid there for most of the night afraid I was going to die. I woke up next morning with a bad head but grateful to be alive. My sister told me years later that she had emptied all the contents of my mother’s capsules because my mother had told her that she was going to make me swallow them all.
Asking For Help
Sometime after my mam had tried to strangle me, we children were sent to a children’s home for a few days because my mam had to go to court to get a divorce. She was divorcing my dad who was sat in Leeds Prison serving two years for the charge of grievous bodily harm of my mam. He had beaten mam to a pulp and left her with a cauliflower ear because she had stabbed him. They were as bad as each other.
While we were in the home, I plucked up courage to write a note asking for help. I wrote, ‘Help me! My mam is going to kill me and she has already tried’, or words to that affect. No one came. In a way I was glad no one came as I was terrified of what mam would do if she found out about the note. I prayed that if they had found the note, they would not realise it was me that had written it and tell my mam.
By the age of eight, I had a very negative belief system. I knew I was not wanted or loved, I knew I was not worth much to anyone. I felt strong emotions of guilt and shame that I was not good enough for my mother. I did not know what I had done so wrong for her to hate me as much as she did.
Children are still abused today even though they are in contact with child protection services. Children are being killed today by their parents and because they were failed by the services. Just like when I was a child and I was left to deal with fear, anger and trust problems, children are still left to cope alone. They are expecting to fit into society and get on with their lives while carrying many negative beliefs about themselves and the world around them.
I was never offered support to deal with my traumatic life and still today abuse survivors are sent out into the world on their own. I struggled at the age of eight with depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, underdevelopment and panic attacks. I was never offered any support and like so many today I was failed by society, family and services meant to protect me.
Abused children out there and survivors of abuse need love and support so they can heal and go on to lead normal happy lives. Without that support many will turn to substance abuse, end up in abusive relationships and struggle with mental health problems. Some children never make it and the abuse kills them.
More needs to be done to help survivors of abusive parents. They need support and education about how to take control of their own lives so they can live a happy life like they deserve to.
- A Life Worth Living. Chapter Seven
Here I have fully developed negative beliefs about myself and the world around me.
- A Life Worth Living; Chapter Three
Life is meant to be lived, not endured. This is my childhood which is like many children's lives today. My start in life was about survival of daily abuse and neglect. This is my life and why I am who I am.
- A Life Worth Living; Chapter Two.
Born into poverty and an abusive home. This is my story of surviving abuse and how my life was impacted because of abuse.
- A Life Worth Living; Chapter One
Born into a violent home, I was given last rites within hours of my birth. My first day of life was a battle to survive and there were more battles of survival to come. This is my journey of survival.